THE more likely Prime Minister-in-waiting - as his supporters keep saying - Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, can more or less imagine what's in store for him when he assumes full power come March '09.
A quick walk through the blogs, news portals, and mainstream newspapers reveal that the main contender (and at this point the only contender) for Umno's top job gives an early indication of what he can expect when he officially takes over next year.
I doubt very much he'll be given the usual 100-day honeymoon period that's customarily given to PMs and presidents. As it is, Najib is already the subject of much allegations from numerous parties, and some of them are not necessarily coming from the Opposition.
The other PM-in-waiting, Permatang Pauh MP and the de facto Pakatan Rakyat leader who is also Opposition chief, had a field day in the Dewan Rakyat, chiding Najib who had recently been given the Ministry of Finance portfolio.
There's also the so-called "sms conversation'" Najib was said to have had with a top lawyer. The accusation that Najib and wife, Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor, are involved in the murder of the Mongolian model, continues to make the rounds.
Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was drawn into the fray. At a press conference, Abdullah defended Najib, and insisted that the latter would be a good leader and he couldn't possibly have any part in the murder.
Come to think of it, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, also have some good words for Najib. (In recent times, Dr Mahathir and Abdullah doesn't see eye to eye on many issues. But they both seemed to have some agreement on Najib this time around)!
Najib have also been getting strong support from his deputy-in-waiting, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Pagoh MP and International Trade Minister. This, as everyone knows, is how the game is going to be played in the coming months.
In the run-up to the March Umno General Assembly and party election, it's all (almost) about the Najib-Muhyiddin combination. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the Gua Musang MP and former Umno treasurer who declared his willingness to run for the top job, have yet to get even one nomination.
Those wanting to bid for the number one post must get at least 30 per cent of the nomination. Ku Li is even behind two other hopefuls, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib (Umno Information Chief) and Datuk Wira Mohd Ali Rustam (Chief Minister Malacca), who broke the duck on Sunday with a couple of nominations.
In the next three weeks, we can expect the Najib-Muhyiddin pair to be more demonstrative of their partnership. They may even appear at the same open houses (a coincidence of course!) and make statements that complement each other.
The other hopefuls are also to be closely watched. Would they continue to go for it, or withdraw when there's still time for them to offer themselves for junior posts. Should they do this, it'll be at the expense of their credibility. It's a simple desire of self preservation - survival!